Growth, Identity

It’s Hard to Pretend

Today, I came upon my youngest daughter sitting cross-legged on the living room couch, head down, hands folded in her lap, her princess shoes lined up carefully on the floor in front of the couch. Not trying to play into it all too much, I attempted to make light of the situation … 

“Hi Cambri!” I said with enthusiasm, continuing to tackle the mound of laundry I was folding. 

After a few minutes, I finally asked her … “Are you having some feelings, Cambri, that you’d like to talk about?” 

She confessed, “I just don’t think I can be a princess anymore.” 

This was a commitment she had made earlier this morning … “I’m going to be a princess today!” she declared, carefully selecting one of our countless dresses, some stick on earrings, a flower barrette for her hair, and some sparkly silver shoes. I watched her bounce around the basement countless times, wearing her biggest sister’s hand-me-down dress, honestly wondering how she’s possibly big enough to wear that dress already, but also (and perhaps more importantly) wondering how she can be so happy (when I’ve been feeling so discontent lately … so unsettled … so TRAPPED) …

I trust Cambri’s “I just don’t think I can be a princess anymore” confession was an “intervention” of sorts … I’d spent the last week in total “discomfort” as I took a good hard look at my life and where it was all sitting these days … my latest read hasn’t helped apparently … the author challenges readers to imagine the truest, most beautiful life they can imagine … I HAVE NOT been living my truest, most beautiful life … this state of pure “survival” and simply fulfilling my “duties” as a teacher, as a wife, and as a mother have left me feeling … well … more than a little “lost” … I’ve caught myself feeling unknown … unseen … unheard … by those closest to me … yet, when I took a minute to “remember” and “see” and “hear” LEANNE myself, I couldn’t find her … I’m not exactly sure WHEN she disappeared, but I’m pretty sure she’s been gone for a real, long while now (grade-school maybe?) … 

And I can’t help but wonder and see and notice how many of us there are … how many of us are THIS lost?

I trust that I, like my four-year-old, have spent my days and my life trying to be someone that I’m not … trying to fit it in … attempting to listen to ALL the voices … aiming to please EVERYONE (but likely pleasing NO ONE) … doing the “right” thing … making sure to not ruffle any feathers … staying quiet … worrying what others might think … or how something might look … burying myself … silencing my own voice within … not confessing how I REALLY feel … or what I REALLY think … NOT sharing my troubles … my challenges … my battles …

My four-year-old, in her discomfort, brought to light my own discomfort … my (current) inner turmoil … 

I attempted to coach her through it, saying, “It’s really hard pretending that we’re someone or something that we’re not, isn’t it Cambri?” 

It IS hard holding up the façade. 

“I wonder if it would be easier for you to just be Cambri?” I suggested. 

“I think so,” she conceded, adding, “But I still really love these pretty shoes, and I would REALLY love it if I could wear them to school and daycare sometime!” This, we can arrange … a simple fix, and she’s on her way again … 

As she hopped out of the room, and I continued to fold the laundry, I wondered ALSO if it would be easier for ME to just be Leanne.

This week’s turmoil has “pushed” me to consider (again) what I want for my daughters … I DO NOT want their inner voices to be silenced … I DO NOT want them pretending they’re something they’re not … I DO NOT want them to cower … or aim to “fit in” … 

Instead, I want them to pursue what they love (regardless of WHO comes along on their journey) … I want them to be bold … to be brave … 

I want them to be WHO they are meant to be … 

How can I possibly ensure this for them if I am not BOLD and BRAVE? If I am not pursuing or making time for what I love? If I am not getting back to what makes me tick? What lights me up? 

I think some tough conversations NEED to be had …

Voices other than my own NEED to be silenced …

Others’ influence NEEDS to be limited … 

It’s time to consider what I want for this ONE precious life I’ve been given … for these THREE precious lives I’ve been entrusted with …

Being BOLD and BRAVE is HARD, but so is PRETENDING … 

We need to pick our hard, because it’s ALL hard …

Thankfully, “we can do hard things!” – Glennon Doyle

1 thought on “It’s Hard to Pretend”

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